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How much do car insurance rates go up after an accident?

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

Article Highlights

A car accident is never a good thing, and that’s partly because of your auto insurance: rates often increase after an accident, even if you didn’t cause it. How much does insurance go up after an accident? The answer to that question depends on your insurer, the state you’re in, the amount of damage and other factors.

In this report, we’ll look at how an accident affects your car insurance rates and what you can do to save money after an accident. 

How an accident affects your car insurance rates

Rates are affected following an accident for a reason: insurance providers want to make money. If they have to pay out on a claim, they’ll want to recoup their losses. In addition, having an accident usually puts you into a higher risk tier. Insurers reason that because you’ve had an accident, you’re not as safe of a driver and more likely to have accidents in the future — so your rates need to be higher to counter that.

How much will my insurance go up after an accident? You won’t see an increase immediately after your claim, but expect to see your premium increase when your renewal period comes around. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the silver lining is that those increases should only stay on your account for three years. After that, if you’ve had no subsequent claims, your rates should decrease.

Average car insurance rate increases after an accident

Since every state has its own motor vehicle laws and regulations, rate increases aren’t consistent. And rates also vary depending on the severity of the accident. A DUI accident, for example, is considered to be more serious than a fender bender.

34%

The average increase in the U.S. is

The average increase in the U.S. is 34% for someone with full coverage, which includes collision and comprehensive coverage in addition to state-mandated liability insurance. So if your annual premium with a clean driving record is $1,555, your premium following an at-fault accident may increase to $2,090 or more, depending on where you live.

Average annual premium with clean driving history Average annual premium with one at-fault accident Difference
$1,555$2,09034%

Insurance rates after an at-fault accident by state

The states that have the highest average premium increase after your accident, based on full coverage, are:

  • California; 73% increase
  • Maine; 64% increase
  • Massachusetts; 56% increase
StateAverage annual premium with clean driving historyAverage annual premium with one at-fault accidentDifference
California$1,974$3,42573%
Maine$831$1,36164%
Massachusetts$1,399$2,17656%
North Carolina$1,378$2,10353%
Georgia$1,746$2,63751%
Oregon$1,281$1,92250%
Arkansas$1,749$2,60749%
Pennsylvania$1,372$2,03048%
Illinois$1,400$2,06748%
South Carolina$1,568$2,29746%
Alaska$1,388$2,02946%
Indiana$1,187$1,73246%
New Mexico$1,374$1,99945%
Ohio$998$1,44745%
Arizona$1,517$2,19645%
Alabama$1,513$2,18044%
Montana$1,365$1,96244%
Oklahoma $1,741$2,49343%
Rhode Island$2,066$2,95343%
Nebraska $1,329$1,88042%
Tennessee $1,281$1,80841%
New Hampshire $1,137$1,59740%
Colorado$1,720$2,39439%
Washington, D.C.$1,675$2,31538%
Idaho$1,055$1,43936%
Iowa$1,122$1,52336%
Connecticut$1,782$2,38634%
North Dakota$1,211$1,60533%
Minnesota $1,622$2,13031%
Hawaii$1,234$1,61531%
Florida$2,587$3,38031%
New Jersey$1,763$2,27429%
South Dakota$1,597$2,05028%
Wisconsin $1,049$1,33227%
Kentucky $1,850$2,34026%
Maryland$1,787$2,25626%
Delaware $1,730$2,17826%
Wyoming $1,335$1,67425%
Mississippi$1,719$2,13824%
Nevada$1,903$2,35524%
Louisiana $2,351$2,89723%
New York$2,498$3,05422%
Kansas$1,567$1,90522%
Utah$1,301$1,58021%
Michigan $2,105$2,53620%
Virginia$1,136$1,35619%
Washington $1,305$1,54518%
Vermont $1,123$1,31317%
Missouri $1,955$2,18112%
West Virginia$1,631$1,79910%
Texas$1,974$2,1248%

Average premium increase with minimum coverage

Minimum coverage means you’re carrying your state’s minimum required insurance to drive legally. This includes bodily injury liability and property liability, and in some states also includes uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection. Each state sets its own minimum amounts of coverage.

Even without comprehensive and collision coverage, your rates will increase from an at-fault accident. This is because you, as a driver, are still a risk. The average national rate of increase is 44%, meaning that your annual premium would increase from $545 to $784 at your next renewal, for example. But even with a larger premium increase overall, you’ll still pay much less annually than you would for full coverage following an accident. 

Average annual premium with clean driving history Average annual premium with one at-fault accident Difference
$545$78444%

Cheapest car insurance states after a crash

States with the lowest premium increase after an accident generally have laws that favor the driver over the insurer. In this highly regulated industry, your premium rates are, perhaps more than you realize, determined by regulations that have been put in place for your state, and differ from those in other states.

Cheapest rates by state

State Average annual premium with clean driving history Average annual premium with one at-fault accident Difference
Washington$1,305$1,54518%
Vermont$1,123$1,31317%
Missouri$1,955$2,18112%
West Virginia$1,631$1,79910%
Texas$1,974$2,1248%

How to save money on car insurance after an accident

The aftermath of a car accident is a good time to look for cheaper car insurance, because your current policy may not be the best option for you once the rates are increased. Here are a few ways you can save money after an accident.

  • Raise your deductible: If you have a $200 or $500 deductible, raising it to $1,000 or more can result in significant savings. But only do so if you know you’d be able to pay the higher deductible in the event of a future claim.
  • Lower your coverage: If you have full coverage, consider dropping collision and comprehensive. This is an especially good tactic if you have an older car that isn’t worth as much. Be aware, though, this is a risky way to cut costs.
  • Shop around: Insurers use algorithms to determine premiums. Another insurer may give less weight to your recent accident than your current one.
  • Add discounts: If you want to stay with your current insurer, a quick call to your agent may reveal additional discounts that can shave off some premium. For example, taking a driver safety course may earn a discount.
  • Improve rating: In the long term, work toward becoming a safer driver, and also toward improving your credit rating. Both of these goals will mean lower rates in the future.

What if the accident wasn’t your fault?

How much does your insurance go up after an accident that wasn’t your fault? That depends on where you live and your insurer’s rules. Many do not raise rates for a first accident, but if you have a pattern of accidents, even if you’re not to blame, you may see your premiums increase because the company puts you in a higher risk pool.

It is often hard to say who’s at fault in an accident, which may impact your rate as well. Partial responsibility may require your insurer to subrogate, or seek payment from the other driver’s insurer — and they may want to pass that cost on to you. 

Other options for high-risk drivers

If your insurer has placed you in the high-risk category, our recommendations on reducing premium costs listed above may be useful. It’s also worth noting there are specialty insurance companies that focus solely on high-risk drivers. These companies may be more likely to give you favorable rates and work with you until you return to a lower-risk category.

The takeaway

Although your premium will probably go up after an at-fault accident, there are ways to minimize the increase.

  • Car insurance premiums increase an average of 34-44% after an at-fault accident.
  • The state you live in and the severity of the accident will impact how much your premium increases. 
  • Shopping around or going with a high-risk insurer may give you a lower rate.

If you’re wondering how much insurance rates increase after an accident, the answer is that it depends on your company, the state you live in and more. The national average increase for drivers with full coverage is 34%; it’s an even higher 44% if you have minimum coverage.

Strategies for dealing with the increase include shopping around, looking for discounts and taking a safe driver course. The increase should drop from your account in three years.

Methodology

Coverage utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze quoted rates from thousands of zip codes in all 50 states, using the top 15 insurance carriers to determine the average auto insurance premiums. Quoted rates are based on the profile of a 30 year old male and female with clean driving records and good credit. Both drivers insure a new, financed 2018 Toyota Camry, and commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually. Full coverage rates include the following coverage details:

  • $100k bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $300k bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $100k property damage liability coverage per accident
  • $500 collision coverage deductible
  • $500 comprehensive coverage deductible

State minimum rates include each state’s minimum coverage requirements.

An accident was defined as an at-fault accident with $3k in property damage.

These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes will be different.

Mary Van Keuren

After 30 years as a writer and editor in academia, Mary now writes full-time for the insurance and finance industries. Her work has appeared on Reviews.com, TheSimpleDollar.com and Bankrate.com, as well as other consumer-focused websites.

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